Former Illini Kendall Gill: "I am ready to play"

Kendall Gill set to join BIG3 league, former NBA stars compete in 3-on-3

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- Kendall Gill played a huge part in one of the most successful runs in Illini basketball history but he agrees, the program needed a new voice after last season.

"We didn't get to the NCAA tournament for what, four years in a row? Here at the University of Illinois that's just not part of the culture that we want," Gill said at the WCIA studios Monday morning. "I'm friends with John Groce but I think that it was probably time for a change, on both ends. I knew he was going to land on his feet as well."

And in just the few short months with Brad Underwood, Gill likes what he sees.

"He has already done that with some of the AAU teams in the Chicagoland area, which is where I live," Gill said. "That's the start. When you develop the coaching with the AAU programs, which weren't around when I played, you develop those relationships then you are going to start to get the kids interested."

At 49 years old, the former No. 5 pick in the NBA draft is lacing his shoes back up, in the Big 3. It's a 3-on-3 league made up of retired NBA players like Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby, Brian Scalabrine, and another former Illini, Brian Cook.

"They asked me to come out and be a part of it and be a part of the player draft pool earlier this spring," he said. "I went through the combine, did really well at the combine, but unfortunately I wasn't drafted. Which really ticked me off, because I thought that I was one of the best players there."

But after a couple injuries, Gill finally got the call.

"I said, 'Yeah absolutely. I still have been working out and kept myself in great shape so I am ready to play.' I can't wait to get to Philadelphia and prove those guys wrong -- make those guys pay, the guys that didn't draft me -- just watch out."

Gill joins Power, a team coached by Clyde Drexler.  Watch it on FS1 on Monday nights.


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